Crime & Public Safety

Bluffton police officer resigns after ‘drunken’ brawl at bowling alley, officials say

Dash cam shows drunk Bluffton cop telling another officer to: “Just let me go”

Bluffton Police Sgt. Brady James Lee tells another officer to let him go after being detained for drunkenly fighting outside a bowling alley in Bluffton.
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Bluffton Police Sgt. Brady James Lee tells another officer to let him go after being detained for drunkenly fighting outside a bowling alley in Bluffton.

A Bluffton Police Department officer charged with public disorderly conduct after he allegedly assaulted fellow off-duty officers at a Bluffton bowling alley has resigned, according to Chief Christopher Chapmond.

Sgt. Brady Lee resigned from the department Monday around noon, Chapmond said Monday afternoon. Chapmond said Lee resigned on his own and was not pressured to do so by the Town of Bluffton.

Lee was arrested by his own department last month after he allegedly drunkenly assaulted fellow off-duty officers at the Station 300 bowling alley in Bluffton and attempted to climb out of a patrol vehicle window, according to information released last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette.

The police department refused to answer questions about Lee’s arrest for nearly two weeks after he was charged with public disorderly conduct in the early hours of Feb. 24. Instead, police would only say he had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation.

Chapmond said Monday that the results of the internal investigation should be released to the newspaper by the end of the week after it is approved by the town’s legal department.

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division is also reviewing the police department’s investigation, Chapmond said.

The S.C. Justice Academy has been advised of Lee’s resignation, he said.

Two calls to the academy Monday afternoon to inquire about Lee’s chances of future police employment were not immediately returned.

Lee was with the department for seven years and received the Bluffton Police Department’s Life-Saving Award and Officer of the Year Award in 2014.

Officers were dispatched to the bowling alley off Buckwalter Parkway Feb. 23 around 10:30 p.m. for a report of a fight in progress, according to the initial report released Thursday.

While there, the responding officers felt that “Lee’s gross intoxication posed a potential danger to himself if left in public alone,” the report said.

At least three officers attempted to “de-escalate Lee’s behavior,” which “could be described as increasingly agitated and unpredictable,” the report stated.

Two off-duty officers who were at the bowling alley with Lee prior to the incident detained him and placed him in a patrol car.

Due to Lee’s behavior and lack of cooperation, an officer decided to transport him to “a more controlled location” at the police department “prior to adjusting his restraints,” the report states.

Lee was booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center at 3 a.m. the next day.

The criminal charge against him was still pending as of Monday afternoon, according to Beaufort County Circuit Court records.

Caitlin Turner is the retail and business reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. She has worked in the news industry for five years in both Ohio and South Carolina and loves the Lowcountry life.


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